Weight Loss

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Mental

This morning, I am:
  • knitting a blanket
  • sitting at my (old) new kitchen table
  • looking out at 1.5 inches of snowfall (the perfect amount)
  • drinking coffee
  • listening to an old This American Life podcast
This is what vacation looks like for me. It's not bad. It's a bit lonely--I don't see many people during my vacation, but I don't try very hard either. But it's restful, and I am doing some things that I won't be able to do much of for the next 6 months, once studying for boards begins in earnest. I've done a bit of reading, but not as much as I wanted--I ordered about 5 books in anticipation of all this vacation time, but didn't read very much of it.

The kitchen table I finally got yesterday off Craigslist. We have a breakfast nook in our new house, with windows on two sides and a built-in china cupboard. It's right in the entrance from our back door, which is our usual entrance to the house, so I wanted a table big enough to spread my anesthesia books out on to study, but not so big that it would block this entrance. My hubby was really against putting a table in this space, but I really wanted it. I just did. I wanted to be able to sit here with coffee and my books, I wanted to be able to make breakfast and not eat it in the dining room, I wanted to be able to sit and chat with hubby when he was cooking. So I finally found a table that met my requirements. It's not the greatest table but it's not the worst, the price was right and so was the size. And we're both happy with it. I'm really enjoying being able to sit in this spot with some natural light, drink my coffee and have my quiet morning.

We didn't have a white Christmas, which we usually seem to in this part of the state, but we got a little snow last night. Not enough to create any real problems, just enough to look nice. We are supposed to get more this week, but I don't think we are expecting huge amounts. I'm preferring this milder winter to the past two years of major dumpage. For the record, I really don't care for snow. I grew up in an area that rarely got snow, and when it did it was never more than 1". I don't like cold weather or snow. But now I live in Spokane, so snow it is. I'm dealing with it.

I've lost 3 pounds, yippee. Mainly I have been running every other day (even though I usually feel like I am dragging an ox behind me when I do), and not snacking. I am back to "only eat when you are hungry" aka the 3-year-old diet. I realized that I had gotten to the point that I was used to feeling full all the time. My restriction is fine, but I've always been able to eat even after I feel full (with no PB or barfing) and I'm sure this is stretching my stomach. I'm trying to reverse this trend now and actually use my band the way it's supposed to be used. The thing is, I've gained a net of about 5 pounds this year: I started the year at 177, lost to 165 (mainly through stress), then slowly gained to 183. That doesn't seem like too much in the grand scheme of things. But if things continue this way, I will regain back up to my previous weight--it will take time, probably years, but it will happen if I don't do something about my intake. The point of the band is to stop hunger so you can eat less, but I'm not hungry ever, and I'm still eating. That is madness.

So, I had cottage cheese for breakfast, and coffee. I'm not going to be draconian about this. I'm just planning to use the band. Eat a small meal when I am hungry, stop when I am full. Try to get my target amount of protein each day. If I'm not hungry but still feel like eating, I either chew gum or drink water. Pretty simple. Add in exercise, and hopefully get results. If I do this and feel like I'm getting hungry too soon, first I'll evaluate my meals to see if they are suitable to keep me satisfied, then if that doesn't work, go in for a fill.

This is all mental work. The band is a simple device, and it does one simple thing: it makes you feel satisfied after a small amount of food, and keeps you feeling that way for 3-4 hours. It doesn't have any effect on emotional triggers for eating, the desire to have one of those cookies sitting right in front of me, the choice of meal I make when eating out, how well I can resist my hubby offering me food when he is eating and I'm not hungry, my ability to get myself outside to run, or how I see myself in the mirror. All of those other things still matter, and they still have to be addressed. The longer this journey lasts, the harder this gets.

So, nearly 3 years out, there is less and less to write about this "journey." It's not as interesting as losing weight every week as in the first 18 months (your mileage may vary). But this is where that annoying phrase about WLS being only "a tool" comes into play. There are a lot of ways to fail at this, and just assuming that the band will do all the work seems to be the biggest factor in most of them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I'm a rather solitary person by nature. I think it was why I was able to work night shift for 7 years. When I was single, it was easy to stay on my night schedule and do the solitary activities I love, like sewing, beadwork, reading, etc. When I met my husband I was still working nights and I worked them for 2 more years before making the switch back to days. It's much harder working nights when you live with a dayshift person.

All of this is to say that it is in my nature to spend time alone, although I love having a partner now and spending time together. When I get the opportunity to spend time alone, however, it is nice. As happens to most people who get married, that precious alone time becomes less and less frequent.

My husband's brother is in Portland this weekend from New York. I would have liked to see him, but I didn't have it in me to make the 700-plus mile round trip this weekend. It's been a long exhausting year, and so we aren't even planning to travel for Christmas this year, which is rare. I really needed a weekend to do nothing--no school or studying, no traveling long distances. So hubby is in Portland visiting his dear brother, and I am sure they are having a great time together. I would like to be there, but as it happens I have some alone time this weekend instead. It's been a very long time since I have had that.

I've done a lot today already: went to the sale at Joann's Fabric to get a new pair of sewing shears, got things to make a holiday wreath, and then made it and hung it, and now I've just gotten back from a run. This evening I plan on sewing and organizing the basement, and then maybe watching a movie and knitting. I'm not doing one bit of studying!

The running is going slow--I wasn't able to get out there during the week for various reasons. I'm still averaging less than 5 miles a week so far. But running in the cold is better than I anticipated, since I hate being cold. I found today that although my lungs want me to stop, I keep running longer because my legs start to get cold when I walk. Bonus!

I saw something really cool when I ran around the little park by our house. It has a pond, and people were ice skating there. I've never lived somewhere that you could actually ice skate on a pond! It looked like the cover of a Currier & Ives catalog. (Remember those?) Most of the people were preparing for an ice hockey game, but a few people were out there figure skating. It's not a very big pond, but the weather is perfect for it: it's been very cold, single digits at night with highs in the 20s during the day, and so it's been too cold to snow, and there isn't much on the ice to sweep away first. I'm not a cold-weather gal, but I loved seeing people out there skating on a pond. It made it feel very small-town, which happens a lot in Spokane actually.

I hope everyone's Christmas preparations are coming along well. Ours are pretty much done. Normally we go to my brother's house for the holidays, but his wife just gave birth to my first niece this week. As much as I would love to see them, and meet little Kiera, they are very busy with the new baby, and we are too tired to try braving the snowy mountain pass this year. So we are having some friends over for dinner and games and movies on Christmas evening. I'm really looking forward to it. We'll go see my family after the holidays when the mountain driving is a little less stressful.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Return to Form

I took a running break. I intended it to be just a few weeks but it ended up being about 6 weeks. I needed the break mentally more than anything else. Like anything else, if you run for a couple years (21 months) without a significant break, you'll get bored and lazy. At least, I will.

The break did me some good, although I have gained about 5 pounds more. In that interim, we have moved, and had a lot of other stress as well. Thanksgiving came and went. Last week I knew it was time to get out there again: actually, I was so stressed out I didn't feel I had much choice but to go move my legs and exhaust my lungs and think about anything but my life for a while. Today's run was better than last week, and I almost didn't notice that it was 15 degrees outside. The sun was shining and it was lovely. My legs want to do a lot more than my lungs are capable of right now, but hopefully we'll be back in sync soon.

Since we've "fallen back" to standard time since then, it gets dark by 4:30 now, so I decided to invest in a good headlight, as one less reason not to run in the winter. Our neighborhood doesn't have many streetlights, and it's an old neighborhood with sidewalks interrupted by old tree roots. It's treacherous without light. The headlight was a resounding success on my first night-time run--I was amazed at how much I was able to see with just a $25 headlamp.

Now I have some serious weight loss to concern myself with--in late January I was at my lowest weight of 165, and today am back to 181, after staying right around 175 for most of this year. This is significantly higher than I want to be, but despite the holidays being upon us, I think I can tackle this at least somewhat. I'm hoping we don't get tons of snow this year, so I can either run outside or get to the gym without too much trouble.

It was good to take a break, but I'm glad to be back. Weight loss will be a bonus--I need the stress relief and the endorphins. And I intend to take Bloomsday again next spring! It's the weekend before I graduate, but hopefully I won't have so much on my plate that I can't do it.